PHARMACY

Watson completes acquisition of Arrow Group

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals has completed its $1.05 billion acquisition of Arrow Group, the company announced Wednesday.

The combination of the two creates a global company with more than $3 billion in annual revenues spread across more than 20 countries and gives Watson a stake in the potential market for biosimilars, the company said.

“There are several significant benefits to Watson shareholders as a result of this financially smart transaction,” Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said in a statement. “Watson gains a financially strong and profitable company, an expanded global commercial presence, an expanded portfolio of marketed products, a stronger combined product pipeline with access to substantial biopharmaceutical capabilities and a geographically complementary manufacturing and distribution infrastructure that can be efficiently integrated into Watson’s global supply chain.”

Through its acquisition of Arrow Group, Watson has also acquired a 36% stake in Eden Biodesign, a provider of development and manufacturing services for early-stage biotech companies that, Watson said, would give it a “long-term foundation” for biosimilars.

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Study: Sugary cola drinks linked to higher risk of gestational diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Women that drink more than five servings of sugar-sweetened cola per week prior to pregnancy appear to have significantly elevated risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to a new study.

Gestational diabetes mellitus, defined as glucose intolerance beginning during pregnancy, is one of the most common pregnancy complications. Women with GDM are at increased risk for complications and illness during pregnancy and delivery, as well as post-pregnancy Type 2 diabetes. Children of mothers with GDM are at increased risk for obesity, glucose intolerance, and early onset diabetes.

Researchers from LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, studied a group of 13,475 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II. During 10 years of follow-up, 860 incident GDM cases were identified. After adjustment for known risk factors for GDM including age, family history of diabetes, parity, physical activity, smoking status, sugar-sweetened beverage intake, alcohol intake, prepregnancy BMI, and Western dietary pattern, intake of sugar-sweetened cola was positively associated with the risk of GDM. No significant association was found for other sugar-sweetened beverages or diet beverages.

The research team “compared with women who consumed less than one serving per month, those who consumed more than 5 servings per week of sugar-sweetened cola had a 22% greater GDM risk,” noted Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor of Epidemiology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health. “We don’t know why significant association was only found in sugar-sweetened cola, but not other types of sugar-sweetened beverages — fruit drinks, other soft drinks, etc.,” Chen added. “One of the explanations could be the tremendous popularity of cola in the U.S.”

Chen said that the study was the first to examine the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on gestational diabetes mellitus risk.

“This finding is important because sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet, particularly in the age group most likely to conceive. Cutting down sugary drinks is clearly an important way to reduce this common pregnancy complication.”

The paper will published in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care.

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Report: Abbott, Teva reach deal over TriCor

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A generic drug maker has agreed to postpone sales of its version of a branded cholesterol drug, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday Teva will postpone the sale of a generic version of TriCor until March 28, 2011. TriCor is a blockbuster drug produced by Abbott Labs. 

Kelly Morrison, an Abbott spokeswoman, called the deal a “pure licensing agreement” and said the company wasn’t paying Teva to delay selling a generic.

The settlement’s terms were not disclosed.

TriCor is designed to lower “bad” cholesterol (referred to as LDL) and triglyceride levels.

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